Honorable members of Congress and of the RNC. I beg your indulgence to consider a scenario and solicit your reaction to it. While, on its face, it may seem frivolous or even silly, it raises questions that I think have serious implications regarding our political precepts.
You own a farm in, say, northern Virginia, and you find that, over a period of a few years, your closest neighbor has proved to be somewhat difficult:
He has poisoned your well;
He has shot your 5-year old Labrador Retriever;
He has seduced your teenage daughter;
He has put sugar in the fuel tank of your farm tractor, ruining the engine;
He has moved the iron pins that define the meets and bounds of your property, so that a bold stream and good bottom land -- formerly yours -- he now claims as his property.
He has constantly spread about in your local community the most vicious lies about you and your family, so that many who were once friends and business acquaintances now avoid you and do not want to be seen in your company.
To be sure, he is still your neighbor, but might you also now consider him your enemy and vigorously oppose his hostile actions? Please respond.
Dear Mr. Lipton,
Thank you very much for your inquiry. It has been widely circulated among our party membership in both Houses and the National Committee where it was found both amusing and thought-provoking. The following statement and reply has been endorsed by Republican leadership:
First, let us thank you again for your questions. Our consensus reply follows, point-by-point. We recognize that the situation you described is entirely hypothetical, but we have put ourselves, collectively, in the position of the "person" you describe.
Poisoned well: the EPA has determined that ground water in northern Virginia rural areas may be contaminated by runoff from both commercial and natural fertilizers, and may be high in undesirable mineral content. Consequently we believe that bottled water will better promote our general health. A well-maintained cistern will provide adequate water for household use, and the supply is sustainable. Thus, and similarly in the following cases, our neighbor -- while arguably without intention -- may have advanced our best interests.
Labrador Retriever: While we understand the sadness of losing a pet, the dog's death, in fact, offers us the opportunity to experience the joy of raising a new puppy. We would lean towards a smaller breed with a longer life expectancy that can be kept close to home, thereby bonding more closely with us and our family. There is a bright side to everything.
Teenage daughter: HHS data tell us that these are generally hard times in the lives of young persons. Perhaps it is better to learn life's hard lessons early. Our daughter will be better prepared to make realistic and wise decisions during the rest of her life, which we hope will be a long and prosperous one.
Farm tractor: We observed that our tractor is not described as new, suggesting that it may be a few years old. One of our Senators, who actually has a farm in rural Virginia, noted that he recently purchased a brand new model, and he was amazed and gratified by the improvements that have been made over his older machine. He cited the following benefits: improved comfort, versatility, efficiency and pollution controls. He said that his new tractor has greatly improved his quality of life in farm work, adding that he keeps his in a locked barn to prevent tampering and theft, and that we would be well-advised to do the same.
Meets and bounds: By moving the property lines our neighbor may actually have made life simpler for us. Regarding our "bold stream" and bottom land, these may no longer be desirable things. Given recent EPA regulations concerning wetlands, the day may well come when our neighbor is saddled with onerous regulations and ruinous lawsuits brought by government. Here, as in most instances, he may have -- however unwittingly -- rendered us a service.
Spreading vicious lies: Many of us, particularly our members of Congress, are accustomed to this behavior, and, vile thought it is, we learn to deal with it. In the long term we know that the true nature of a life virtuously lived will in the end triumph over the unthinking pettiness of others. We keep in mind, also, that virtue is its own reward.
Now we turn to the key question: in regard to the incidents described, would we consider our closest neighbor an enemy? Before tendering our answer, we should say that we firmly believe -- as we think most Americans, including our opposition party do -- that all men are inherently good. Some, it is true, may, being human, behave badly from time to time, but it is because they are misguided, uninformed or thoughtless of others. With patience and reasoned persuasion they can be redeemed. This effort demands our tireless and unselfish dedication. That would seem to answer your other question as to the way we should respond to so-called "hostile" actions. Keep in mind that, first of all he is our neighbor and a fellow citizen (assuming he is not undocumented). We believe that open, vigorous opposition is generally counterproductive, and should be avoided, since it will only harden undesirable behavior, that could otherwise be dealt with in civil, tolerant, respectful and sympathetic ways. Deeply ingrained in American thought, after all, are the views that we should turn the other cheek and refrain from being judgmental.
We hope this answers your questions and provides a clear view of our Party's consensus.
Albert Deafman, Republican National Committee
Constituent Relations Staff
Sun Tsu's admonition to know your enemy does not apply to the Republican Party. They don't even realize that they have enemies.